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WWE's Cody Rhodes talks 'drifting apart' from Tony Khan, leaving AEW

Rhodes spoke with Ariel Helwani about his departure from AEW and signing with WWE.

Cody Rhodes says he was "drifting apart" from AEW president Tony Khan. 

Speaking to Ariel Helwani in an interview released on Sunday, Rhodes also said he wasn't satisfied being the gatekeeper in AEW. 

"I didn't want to be a gatekeeper pro wrestler. I didn't want to be, 'okay, he's the guy at AEW that you come in and you had your first program with, your first story, whatever it may be.' That wasn't how the first year of the business went for me. I wanted to be the American Nightmare, I wanted to keep expanding and I wanted to move but also I had wrestled everybody I wanted to wrestle there, I truly had."

Rhodes also reiterated comments he made previously about not wanting to be just a "15-time TNT champ" in AEW. 

"I started to get the sense that I have more for me and I've got to go get it. Dusty's not around anymore. I can't do what I originally wanted to do, win the big one and hand it to him, that dream is gone. But, is it? It's not gone, I got this other opportunity to revisit it."

Rhodes mentioned in a previous interview with Variety that there was a personal matter between him and Khan that they were unable to get past. He was asked to elaborate on this.  

"Unfortunately, I can't comment on the personal matter itself. Tony Khan, who I have genuine respect for and I hope history is really kind to because he bankrolled this entire grassroots movement that was starting in ROH and then All In happened, then, of course, AEW happened and then he was able to buy that footage back. I felt like we were drifting apart," Rhodes said.

"It just genuinely felt like it was time. I can't comment on the personal nature of it but it was nothing nefarious or scandalous, just we couldn't agree. Nothing but respect for him, his family, the infrastructure there." 

Rhodes stated that the personal issue between him and Khan was nothing sensational. 

"I don't know if he'll ever share ultimately what went down but it was nothing crazy. It just was a rather easy decision. Hard, and hard to explain to the fans, which we didn't, and hard to explain to the talent because one week I was there and the next week Ricky Starks and QT [Marshall] are bringing in bags and getting all my stuff out of the box and making the biggest scene they possibly could instead of being discreet as I asked them to."

"I had a wonderful experience there and I feel the experience had maxed out. You never want to start getting into a situation where the love goes away."

"I know Matt, Nick, and Kenny, I don't know if they sit in circles and hate on me or talk poorly about me, I hope they wouldn't but if they don't know, I try to tell them on a regular basis, I absolutely love those guys."   

Rhodes also addressed his future goals in wrestling. 

"Roman and Brock are wrestling for the best, if that makes any sense. Tonight, they are wrestling for the best, what matters the most, and a title that never was on a Rhodes. I'm not saying any more than that but I think my intentions are probably clear as to what I'd like. It's one thing if it's un-obtained but I don't want it to go unsaid." 

Rhodes was also asked about what Triple H said to him on the bus before his big return. 

"It wasn't a handshake as much as it was a hug. I don't want to repeat what he said but I will value it forever." 

Finally, he was asked what he thinks his father, Dusty Rhodes, would say if he could see what he's doing now. 

"I genuinely felt him and that's never happened for me, felt him. I think all the time about what I would tell him versus what he would say to me. And I always think the first thing I would have to say to him is, "So much has happened, so much has happened. I have to tell you.' But he's the type that if he saw what happened last night, it's like he would know everything, it's like he would get it."

"I think knowing the man Dusty and then the father, I think he probably would have asked what was on my neck. That probably would have been honestly the first thing he'd say to me."